I am taking Documentary Filmmaking, a block centered around the creative and technical approaches to making documentaries, taught by alum Doug Pray (a documentary filmmaker himself). After a packed week, I’m excited to share some of the many tips, ideas, and artistic lessons I have already absorbed.
My favorite assignment we did this week involved going through a local newspaper (Gazette or The Independent) and choosing two news stories: one that we would make a big budget doc about, and one that we would do on virtually no budget with a short time window. I learned, first of all, there’s more going on in the Springs than we may think. Secondly, it helped Doug make the point that stories are everywhere. And everyone has a story. Something that stuck out to me was the idea Doug shared that a documentary, an interesting one, no less, can be made about anybody. I love this idea and like the artistic, journalistic place this puts us in as story-seekers surrounded by people with treasured experiences we all can learn or benefit from seeing / hearing.
It’s also a somewhat humbling position to know good stories can come from anywhere and sometimes, just being a good listener can provide insightful and educating opportunities.
We also did a more technical exercise later in the week that familiarized us with the filming equipment and editing software. We each filmed an average activity taking place and then edited it in such a way that it relayed a mini story. I realized how many choices directors have to make as far as cuts and angles go, and the possibilities seem endless. There’s a lot of impressive talent in our class which is inspiring and helpful to see how a style can emerge from all the filming options.
Throughout this past week, we’ve also been brainstorming ideas for our final projects, which range from inside looks at quirky subcultures to education on social issues. I’m excited to continue speeding toward our goal of each producing a 5-7 minute documentary, knowing the block plan doesn’t allow for any feet dragging.
Looking forward to diving into week two!